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Local Electoral Incentives and Decentralized Program Performance

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  • Alain de Janvry
  • Frederico Finan
  • Elisabeth Sadoulet

Abstract

This paper analyzes how electoral incentives affected the performance of a major decentralized conditional cash transfer program intended on reducing school dropout rates among children of poor households in Brazil. We show that while this federal program successfully reduced school dropout by 8 percentage points, the program's impact was 36 percent larger in municipalities governed by mayors who faced reelection possibilities compared to those with lame-duck mayors. First term mayors with good program performance were much more likely to get re-elected. These mayors adopted program implementation practices that were not only more transparent but also associated with better program outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Alain de Janvry & Frederico Finan & Elisabeth Sadoulet, 2010. "Local Electoral Incentives and Decentralized Program Performance," NBER Working Papers 16635, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16635
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bardhan, Pranab & Mookherjee, Dilip, 2006. "Pro-poor targeting and accountability of local governments in West Bengal," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 303-327, April.
    2. John A. List & Daniel M. Sturm, 2006. "How Elections Matter: Theory and Evidence from Environmental Policy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1249-1281.
    3. Marco Manacorda & Edward Miguel & Andrea Vigorito, 2011. "Government Transfers and Political Support," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 1-28, July.
    4. Ferraz, Claudio & Finan, Frederico S., 2007. "Electoral Accountability and Corruption in Local Governments: Evidence from Audit Reports," IZA Discussion Papers 2843, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Faguet, Jean-Paul, 2001. "Does decentralization increase responsiveness to local needs? - evidence from Bolivia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2516, The World Bank.
    6. Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2008. "Exposing Corrupt Politicians: The Effects of Brazil's Publicly Released Audits on Electoral Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 703-745.
    7. Ravallion, Martin, 2007. "How relevant is targeting to the success of an antipoverty program ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4385, The World Bank.
    8. Card, David & Sullivan, Daniel G, 1988. "Measuring the Effect of Subsidized Training Programs on Movements in and out of Employment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(3), pages 497-530, May.
    9. Galasso, Emanuela & Ravallion, Martin, 2005. "Decentralized targeting of an antipoverty program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 705-727, April.
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    13. FranÁois Bourguignon & Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Phillippe G. Leite, 2003. "Conditional Cash Transfers, Schooling, and Child Labor: Micro-Simulating Brazil's Bolsa Escola Program," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(2), pages 229-254, December.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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